This reviewer really awaited seeing the theatrical version of "WINDTALKERS" with high expectations. The trailer looked great. The story offered the potential for a powerful, controversial film. Alas, the film glossed over its most potentially gripping themes and the narrative was inconsistent in where it was heading throughout. The "Director's Cut", released on dvd less than a year after the theatrical version, did nothing to improve the film or flesh out any of its characters, needless to say it did nothing to improve the storyline either!
For some reason, FOX isn't electing to release the "Director's Cuts" of some "BLU-RAY" releases. It looks like the upcoming "MR AND MRS SMITH" and "ALIEN VS. PREDATOR" will also be the theatrical versions only, so we're hoping that the studio changes their minds promptly. Sure, the Director's cut doesn't always make a big difference, except for the rare (KINGDOM OF HEAVEN) example, but this new format deserves the ability to offer consumers the most "goodies" available, doesn't it?
Nicolas Cage stars in "WINDTALKERS", a WW2 films in which he's assigned to work with an Indian "WINDTALKER". The wrongly overlooked contributions of American Indians to our country in WW2 is at last recognized here. Their ancient language was never handed down through writing, just orally, making it an extremely hard code for Japanese to crack. Unless, of course, they were to capture an American Indian, hence Cage's character is given orders to "protect the code" at all costs, meaning if the Indian Soldier is about to be captured, to kill him rather than lose the code to torture. This premise had a lot of potential, all overlooked and even pushed aside in scenes where it could've made a gigantic impact on various scenes. It's as if the trailer was for a completely different film. Sure, there are some great visual moments, but "WINDTALKERS" in many ways is more of a disappointment than "PEARL HARBOR".
FOX has provided the 134 minute theatrical version, lacking the extra 19 minutes found in the director's cut. The transfer is 1080p/MPEG-2 with 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Colors are solid. Director John Woo's unique visual landscape is well complimented here, noticeably superior in detail and color saturation over the standard dvd in every scene. Hues are perfect and darker scenes offer impeccably deep blacks and grays. There are still a few scenes that look flat, but the overall majority of the film is presented with a near 3-dimensional depth that creates a necessary "WOW" factor to this Blu-ray transfer.
FOX has provided a DTS-HD Lossless mix. The mix offers terrific dynamic range and a multitude of bass effects. Surrounds aren't as aggressive as we'd expected, but they pack quite a whallop when they do come into play, often enough to make this one of the more impressive mixes on BLU-RAY thus far.